3 Rs




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Osmotic Power

Alternate forms of energy have been a hot topic for the past four decades. There is a new kid on the block: Osmotic Power. Osmotic power works by putting sea water next to fresh water separated by a membrane thin enough to allow small fresh-water molecules through but not the larger sea-water molecules laden with salt. If a concentrated solution is in close proximity to a less concentrated solution the liquids will naturally mingle to reach the same level of dilution. The pressure of the fresh water driving through the membrane to dilute the sea water drives a turbine that generates electricity.

A Norwegian renewable energy company, Statkraft, has built a prototype osmotic power plant. It is located on the Oslo fiord. At first it will produce about 4 kw of power, enough to heat an electric kettle. By 2015 the target is 25 Mw.

As I read an article about osmotic power by Mark Gregory of the BBC (Nov. 24/09), Mr. Gregory states that to produce this kind of power would simply require a coastal location. See http://www.google.ca/search?q=Osmotic+power&hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-US&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=YKa4TYbhPIShtweh2dneBA&ved=0CD4QsAQ&biw=762&bih=376 for pictures explaining this kind of power.

In a related article by Kate Galbraith of the New York Times (Nov. 24, 2009), she contends that the theory for this kind of power has been around since the 1970s. She goes on to say that studies for this type of power are currently underway at the University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech and the University of Texas. I researched the science departments of all three of these institutions and found no evidence of studies being done there.

Is osmotic power the new energy alternative for the future, or is it just a hoax?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Great Achievement

The National Geographic Society was founded in January 1888 in Washington, D.C. Among its charter members were Alexander Graham Bell and Bell's father-in-law, lawyer Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Gardiner Hubbard, a lawyer, financier, and philanthropist became the first president of the National Geographic Society. Mabel Hubbard, his daughter, became the wife of Alexander Graham Bell. Mabel had become deaf at the age of four as a result of having scarlet fever. Bell’s father taught deaf people how

to speak. He invented "Visible Speech". This was a code which showed how the tongue, lips, and throat were positioned to make speech sounds. Mabel’s father founded a school for the deaf and promoted the experiments of his son-in-law, Alexander Graham. Bell also spent most of his life devoted to helping the deaf.

When Bell invented the telephone he gave Mabel a 30% share in his new company. Mr. Hubbard was appointed as the first president of Bell Telephone and was also elected as National Geographic’s first president. Mr. Hubbard also promoted Bell’s experiments and helped to finance them.

The Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) was a Canadian aeronautical research group (with the exception of Dr. Bell; he was born in Scotland). The other members of the group were John Alexander Douglas McCurdy (a Canadian aviation pioneer and later became Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia from 1947 to 1952); Frederick Walker Baldwin also known as Casey Baldwin (an engineer and a hydrofoil and aviation pioneer who was also the first Canadian to pilot an aircraft, which he did in the USA); Glenn Hammond Curtiss, an American aviation pioneer and founder of the Curtiss Aerop

lane and Motor Company (now part of Curtiss-Wright Corporation); and Thomas Etholen Selfridge, a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. The group was formed on 30 September 1907, under the tutelage of Dr. Bell. The purpose of the group was to build a flying machine.

John McCurdy flew the Silver Dart at Baddeck Nova Scotia on February 23, 1909. Dr. Bell’s work was great achievement indeed.

For more information, see: